NZ Tourism celebrate the first Enviro-Gold recipients

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 22 October 2008

Five tourism businesses were awarded the gold logo this week from Qualmark, including two hotels from Wellington, an Auckland hotel, and one each from Mount Cook and the West Coast.

Qualmark is an official accreditation for tourism operators to earn that shows the business practices responsible environmental, cultural and social actions.  Businesses are assessed on the Responsible Tourism Operations criteria, which focus on energy, waste, water, conservation and community activities.  The Qualmark is accredited in grades, and operators can be awarded one of four logos: Qualmark, Enviro-Gold, Enviro-Silver, and Enviro-Bronze awards. 

Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor congratulated the businesses for proving their commitment to sustainability, the environment and New Zealand tourism.

"I encourage other tourism operators to get on board and aim for excellence in environmental sustainability.  Qualmark has always been the sign of quality in New Zealand tourism and I encourage tourists, both international and domestic, to look for the Qualmark Enviro logo when choosing where to stay," Mr O'Connor told Fourcorners.

Geoff Penrose, Chief Executive of Qualmark, said the five awards are testament to the businesses high level of commitment to outstanding environmental practices.

"This achievement is testament to how each of these properties has fully integrated environmental sustainability into quality tourism products.  These Enviro-Gold logos are evidence that each has achieved the pinnacle of responsible tourism processes within their respective operations," said Mr Penrose.

In related news, this year, New Zealand won several awards in the tourism industry, including the top country for tourism in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller Readers' Awards 2008 in the UK and again in America, due to its glorious scenery, high level of safety and value for money.

However, George Hickton, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive, expressed concerns that New Zealand's second largest tourism market will dwindle in response to the wavering economic climate.  Despite this, Mr Hickton said there is clearly still a strong interest in New Zealand for British residents, but that it would more likely be older British tourists on a New Zealand Visitor's Permit rather than younger travellers on a New Zealand working holiday visa that will be able to afford travel to New Zealand over the next few months.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.